Smartphone searches are a recipe for grocery sales success, BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor finds

Mobile mums: smartphones and tables becoming indispensable

Grocery search surge in Q2

All device grocery search volumes grew 22% in the second quarter of 2014 compared with the same quarter a year earlier, according to the BRC-Google Online Retail Monitor for Q2 2014.

Search volumes on smartphones outpaced search volumes on tablets, with growth of 94% compared with growth on tablets of 28%.

Top Grocery Search Terms

Top 10 Grocery Terms: Q2 2014
All Devices Smartphones
Chocolate Cake Recipe Chocolate Cake Recipe
Banana Bread Quinoa
Cake Recipes Prosecco
Carrot Cake Recipe Cake Recipes
Chocolate Brownies Banana Bread
Cheesecake Recipe Cheesecake Recipe
Cupcakes Yorkshire Pudding
Quinoa Protein Shakes
Carrot Cake Brownie Recipe

Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: “In a change that will give particular cheer to grocery retailers, the latest BRC-Google numbers show that customers are increasingly turning to their tablet computers and smartphones for culinary guidance.  With recipes dominating the top ten search terms and a personal favourite, chocolate cake recipes, topping it, this presents a great opportunity for retailers. Many grocers are integrating their online shopping offer with recipe websites and apps. This means that when customers find a recipe they like, they are a mere one click away from having all the ingredients placed in their online shopping basket.

“The internet is also proving to be a valuable resource for those with special dietary requirements. A spectacular 122% rise in smart phone searches in this category suggests that customers are researching their purchase on-the-go, potentially even as they walk the supermarket aisles, to find products that meet their very specific needs.

“Across all devices, searches for grocery items were up 22% on the same quarter last year. Customers, it seems, are looking for the best value across everything they buy. Grocery retailers with a great online offer are set to benefit as consumers turn to looking online for the best prices for the food they buy.”

Peter Fitzgerald, retail director, Google, said: “Grocery shoppers have embraced mobile technology, with nearly double the number of searches coming from mobile devices compared to last year. Greater London has seen the sharpest rise in searches, reflecting the developments grocers have made in the region, for example the increase in delivery options becoming available to Londoners. Further growth should be expected as these options are expanded across the UK.

“The warm weather led to an increase in barbecue and beer related queries, plus the World Cup brought a rise in Latin American cuisine searches of 35% year-on-year. However, Britain still remains health-conscious, with significant growth reported in diet, organic and weight-loss foods.”

Paul Heywood, director of EMEA at internet performance expert, Dyn, said: “The boom in grocery searches across mobile devices highlights our ‘always on’ economy and is no surprise. Mobile allows greater alignment with the on-the-go lifestyle of today, whilst offering a hugely personal experience due to the huge amount of customer data stored on smartphones. However, technology still needs to become more intuitive to human behaviours to capitalise on impulse and emotionally motivated actions. For example, what if your smartphone could understand that you were on a diet or allergic to particular foods? It’s these sophisticated and personalised customer experiences that will allow retailers to stand out from the competition.

“To deliver this type of experience, speed and internet performance is everything. Ever increasing channels means there is more competition for consumers’ attention so the first brand to deliver the message wins the customer. Affiliate marketing offers a back door entrance to capture customers through the lifestyle blogs and social media – brands that add value through innovative partnerships that offer personalised customer experiences will win.”

Grocery Search Volume Breakdown – Monthly (Year-on-year % change)

Categories Year-on-Year % change
Smartphone Search Volumes Tablet Search Volumes All Devices Search  Volumes
April 99% 32% 21%
May 98% 28% 23%
June 85% 23% 22%
  • All Device grocery search volumes growth was 21% in April compared with the same period a year earlier. Across smartphones and tablets, search volume growth rose by 99% and 32% respectively
  • Search volumes on smartphones were also highest in May 2014, up 98%
  • Growth of grocery search volumes on smartphone devices was also strongest in June, up 85% compared with 23% growth on tablets and 22% growth across all devices

Top Trending Sub Categories Searches – Q2 2014 (Year-on-year % change)

Categories Second Quarter 2014Year-on-Year % change
Smartphone Search Volumes Tablet Search Volumes All Device Search Volumes
Organic & Natural Foods 133% 21% 23%
BBQs & Grills 129% 40% 40%
Beer 122% 37% 32%
Special & Restricted Diet Foods 122% 45% 37%
French Cuisine 120% 42% 26%
Meat & Poultry 118% 43% 34%
Wine 116% 30% 25%
Latin American Cuisine 111% 33% 35%
Asian Cuisine 107% 24% 28%
Liquor 103% 28% 25%
Household Supplies 102% 29% 23%
Fish & Seafood 101% 33% 24%
Dairy & Non-Dairy Alternatives 100% 35% 24%
Indian Cuisine 93% 23% 24%
Weight-Loss Foods & Nutrition Bars 91%